Barbara Lewis is a talented singer/songwriter who met with top forty success several times in the 60's.
Barbara was born in South Lyon, Michigan, just west of Detroit, in 1943. She enjoyed music as a child and by the age of nine had begun writing songs on her own. Barbara learned to play several musical instruments. She became acquainted with music producer Ollie McLaughlin and began recording as a teenager, beginning in Chicago in 1961. McLaughlin worked with a number of singers from the Detroit area and other parts of Michigan in the 60's, including Del Shannon and the Capitols.
Barbara's debut album consisted entirely of songs that she had written herself, and on some of them she was backed by the Dells. One such song, Hello Stranger, featured her soft, soulful vocal and some dynamic background contributions from the Dells. She was signed to the Atlantic label. Hello Stranger went as high as number three on the national charts in the summer of 1963 and established Barbara Lewis as a formidable force in the music business. She was twenty years old.
A recording of Puppy Love (not the Paul Anka song) became Barbara's next top forty hit the following year. She began recording in New York City under the direction of veteran producers Jerry Wexler and Bert Berns. A fine singer, she had some excellent orchestral accompaniment and at times recorded songs with an eye toward commercial appeal. In 1965 Barbara just missed the top ten twice with Baby, I'm Yours and Make Me Your Baby. The first of these had been written by Van McCoy, who would have a number one hit of his own as an artist a decade later with the instrumental disco standard The Hustle. Barbara's final top forty hit was Make Me Belong To You in 1966.
The singer with the smooth voice continued recording into the late 60's and early 70's, back in Chicago, then went into a long hiatus in the early 70's. She has long been a popular singer along the Eastern Seaboard where her songs continue to be played on the radio and appreciated by the beach music crowd. Barbara Lewis' most well known songs are Baby, I'm Yours, Make Me Your Baby, and of course her first and biggest hit Hello Stranger.
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